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The Advertising Industry’S Advice On Accessibility And Disability Representation: A Critical Discourse Analysis

Journal of Advertising

Edward Timke


How do advertising trade press and association resources advise practitioners on considering disabilities in advertising work? What does the industry think are effective practices for taking disabilities into account fairly and respectfully? This article answers these questions by closely reading prominent industry articles and multimedia materials focused on recommendations regarding how to take disabilities into account in advertising work. Using critical disability scholars’ critiques of the advertising industry’s considerations of disability as a guide, critical discourse analysis was applied to trade articles and multimedia materials published between 2018 and early 2023 by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), Adweek, and Ad Age, all leading advertising industry trade publishers among U.S.advertising practitioners. These analyses present some emergent themes about what the industry tells itself are the effective practices to represent disabilities and reach and include people with disabilities. Careful attention is paid to the similarities and gaps between industry recommendations and scholarly and activist guidelines to see where the industry sees itself in its journey of disability diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.


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